Rick Tyler is more than just your average teenage troublemaker…
When you’re born to a superhero and then left with nothing you don’t often realise what you have until someone show you. Look at Stargirl’s Rick Tyler (Cameron Gellman) as a prime example. Through the first season, he goes from being a delinquent to his father’s successor. But for us as the audience, we need to understand how he goes from loner to a hero with dignity not to kill the beast who killed their parents.
If you’ve said our first post on the JSA’s leader Courtney, then you’ll know that there the next generation of the Justice Society learn lessons along the way. Before we start, we also wanna point out that we’ve also done a Rick Tyler appreciation post too.
Born A Legacy
However, not long after they arrived, Rex and Wendi suddenly needed to get out of town. They left their house, $50,000 and Rick in the hands of Wendi’s brother, Matt (Adam Aalderks) who had zero love for his brother-in-law and nephew.
Rick, being a child at the time, had no idea what was going on and begged his parents not to leave him. Before they leave, Wendi tells her son how much she loves him while Rex gives him a key chain of a yellow ’66 Mustang which is a replica of the car his child will fix up years later.
As they were escaping, Rex and Wendi’s car was hit by Solomon Grundy which sent it into a tree and they were killed, leaving their son orphaned.
Rick is lead to believe that his parents’ car hit a tree and they died. Little did he realise, there was so much more to their deaths. In the years that pass, the little boy left behind becomes an angsty teenager with an axe to grind. He is constantly angry and gets into trouble on a regular basis.
Not having time to process his grief, Rick is forced to endure a hard childhood under the thumb of his Uncle Matt who physically (not sexually) and mentally abused him, despite promising his sister he would take care of her son.
Matt blamed Rick for his new role in live; a father to an unwanted child. Rex had had documents faked to make out that the boy was Harris’ son in order to protect him. As a result the teenager was legally Richard “Rick” Harris, son of Blue Valley deadbeat Matt Harris.
Rick didn’t try to make friends and begins to drink to numb the pain that he is forced to endure on a daily basis.
Ricks life starts to change when Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) arrives in Blue Valley. On her first day, she is forced to sit at the ‘singles’ table with him, Beth Chapel (Anjelika Washington) and Yolanda Montez (Yvette Monreal).
As time wears on, Rick comes to accept Courtney sitting at the table, even though he and the three girls aren’t really friends. Things begin to change when Whitmore begins to recruit members for her new iteration of the Justice Society of America.
Courtney discovers the hourglass she stole from the JSA headquarters works around Rick. This happened by accident when something pulls the troubled teenager towards Whitmore and her stepfather, Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson) when the former sidekick’s Buick breaks down on the side of the road.
Having sensed the hourglass, Courtney digs around in her gym bag full of JSA artefacts and finds it glowing. When she confronts Rick later after she follows him, it has stopped. He naturally thinks she’s crazy.
It’s not until Courtney, Beth, and Yolanda crash Cindy Burman (Meg DeLacy)’s Halloween party and tell Rick what they know about his father that he begins to realise his life could get better.
As Hourman II
Courtney begins to think that giving Rick his father’s hourglass was a bad idea. From the moment he realises what it does, he starts to abuse the power it grants him. He puts a massive dent in his uncle’s truck as payback for how he treated him for so long. This doesn’t go unnoticed by Pat who is sent the vehicle for repair.
Being Rex’s son, Rick believes he’s entitled to the hourglass and his father’s journal. However, Pat scolds him for this and reveals that the original Hourman never abused the power that he himself created.
As time wears on, Rick starts to realise that running in to a fight without a plan or backup is not a good idea. He loses a fight with Sportsmaster (Neil Hopkins) and has to be saved by Courtney.
To start with, he doesn’t respect his teammates or Pat but things shift when Courtney is sent to the emergency room after a fight with Cindy that leaves her unconscious. The incident is passed off as a car accident to the hospital but when the news gets back to the JSA, Rick hits the roof.
This drastic shift shows that Rick is loyal and wants to ensure his new friends are safe. The incident with Cindy harming Courtney shows that he is eager to avenge those he cares for, but the one thing he lacks at this time is restraint. It takes Beth and Yolanda to talk him around. Ultimately, this leads them to infiltrating or trying to get into the Burman house.
Rick and Yolanda play lookout while Beth and a rather reluctant Pat go inside.
When Brainwave (Christopher James Baker) wakes up and continues conspiring with Icicle (Neil Jackson), Henry King Jr (Jake Austin Walker) witnesses the conversation between his father and the villain and goes to Courtney. Having heard her thoughts about the JSA and ISA during her fight with Cindy in the street, he knows she can help him.
However, Rick and Yolanda are against the idea of Henry helping them given his past with his ex-girlfriend. Despite it being pointed out to the second Hourman that he’s done questionable things too, he points out he would never send nude pictures of a girl around or slut-shame them.
Things get rougher when Rick and Henry almost end up in a fight in the cafeteria where Brainwave’s son uses his powers on Tyler to put him on his ass.
Before having joined the JSA, Rick would never have backed anyone up. However, having spent time with the girls and being the only boy in the group, he sees it as his job to be their protector or the protective big brother.
When the team witnesses Henry’s death at the hands of his father, Rick is seen comforting Yolanda as she cries. Not long after this, he also tells Courtney that the cosmic staff is stupid if it thinks she has to be Starman’s daughter in order for her to wield it.
The Fight With The ISA
For weeks, Rick is given the task of cracking a code developed by his father inside his journal. He manages to get most of it complete but there is one piece he’s struggling to discover. Pat gives him the idea of the ’66 Mustang as a clue. It works and the teenager his first real smile in what must be years.
In the tunnels underneath Blue Valley, Rick is surprised when Beth reveals she and Barbara (Amy Smart) found the ISA’s manifesto which says good things. This leads to question where the team were on the right side. However, it is then discovered that there is a catch. For Project: New America to work, 25 million people will die in the process.
When the JSA comes together they face off against the ISA. Rick finally comes face-to-face with Solomon Grundy, the beast that killed his parents. Things become desperate when the creature pulls apart S.T.R.I.P.E. with Pat inside.
Rick pulls the beast away so Pat can rescue his wife who is kidnapped by Jordan. Knowing his time has come to take out the creature, Hourman II is unable to do it. Especially after the argument he had with Yolanda about how killing was bad.
What Comes Next For Rick
With the battle over, Rick has time to reflect on the good parts of his life. He has found a new purpose and he now calls the JSA and the Whitmore-Dugan family his own. With a new sense of ease, he now has the ability to smile and be part of something greater.
What his story will be in Season 2, is uncertain. Though, whatever it is will bring out a new side to Rick that we have yet to see. Though, it has been teased that Grundy will return.